National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2009

Simulation of physically mediated variability in prey resources of a larval fish: a three-dimensional NPZ model

Hinckley, S., J.M. Napp, A.J. Hermann, and C. Parada

Fish. Oceanogr., 18(4), 201–223, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2009.00505.x (2009)

A three-dimensional biophysical nutrient–phytoplankton–zooplankton model was used to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of food resources for young walleye pollock in the western Gulf of Alaska, to further understanding of recruitment processes for pollock. We modeled nitrogen, phytoplankton, a large herbivorous grazer parameterized as Neocalanus spp. (the biomass dominant copepod in the Gulf), and the 13 stages (egg, naupliar and copepodite) of Pseudocalanus spp. (a major constituent of the diet of pollock) so that the appropriate size class of food for each size of larval pollock was represented. Model results identified an area between the Semidi and Shumagin Islands that may not be suitable as a nursery area early in the year due to low prey abundance. Modeled mesoscale eddies, previously hypothesized to be important for larval pollock retention in Shelikof Strait, contained higher prey concentrations than the surrounding waters when they were cyclonic. This work also help to understand the consistency of pollock spawning in time and space in Shelikof Strait, by examining the timing and location of prey availability which, along with transport, narrows the window for optimal spawning.

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